Monday, February 19, 2018

Ontario Big Day???

If you're sensing a theme you might be onto something...anyways, after all that planning for Huron that I've done I naturally started into thinking about an Ontario big day. With the record last set in 2012 at 204 species I started looking at the possibilities for date, route and associated possible speices.

For the date, we'll want a date where we can maximize breeders and yet still have some migrants. Generally speaking the period of May 22-29 has stuck with us, and we'll pick something in between this.

With some help from Mike, we took a look at the frequency of observation for species reported in Ontario, specifically in the Algonquin-Carden-Hamilton-Carolinian sphere of things. We ranked species into 6 codes, as follows:

1. guarantee, don't need to target (e.g., House Sparrow)
2. virtual guarantee, show up at location and will get it (e.g., Ruffed Grouse)
3. should get by targeted effort but could miss it or a migrant that requires luck (e.g., Sedge Wren)
4. will need a stakeout (e.g., Tundra Swan)
5. shit luck required (e.g., King Eider)
6. diamond encrusted horeshoe up your ass required (e.g., Pomarine Jaeger)

With our codes figured out and the frequency of observation, we categorized each species reported and figured out that there are:
84 code 1's
88 code 2's
49 code 3's
20 code 4's
174 code 5's and 6's

With that being said, to break the record (204 sp), we'll need the following:
all of the code 1s (84 sp)
90% of code 2's (79 sp)
71% of code 3s (35 sp)
30% of code 4s (6 sp)
1 sp. code 5 or 6

As far as routes go, the previous and current big day records  of 200 (2000) and 204 (2012) species, respectively, both have followed a roughly Algonquin to Pelee/Long Point route. I think the Long Point idea is better just because of the shorter distance, though you don't have a Hillman when you go the Pelee route, though Long Point has more guaranteed specifically for CERW and LOWA.

What do you think? Think the record is beatable? Think an Algonquin-Carden-Hamilton-Long Point route is the route of champions or should it be Pelee/Hillman?


  1. I need a pro's & con's list of Hillman vs. No Hillman


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